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High street lending falls in March

High street lending fell slightly in March as the banks continued to be hit by a “fragile” market.

According to the British Banker’s Association, all measures of the banks’ mortgage lending in March were marginally weaker than in February. Mortgage lending fell to £3.7bn from February’s £3.9bn, while consumer lending rose slightly from -£0.1bn to +£0.1bn.

Retail deposits rose slightly, up to £0.6bn in March from February’s £0.4bn.

Lending to non-financial companies fell by about £1.0 billion, largely reflecting the unwinding of takeover finance.

BBA statistics director David Dooks says: “Lending to households continues to grow, as banks make funds available for people who meet their lending criteria but consumer confidence is fragile and unlikely to change demand markedly in the near-term.

“The banks’ figures also show it would be unrealistic to expect the mortgage market to recover in a steady and consistent way in the current economic environment.

“Company demand for increased bank finance is subdued, as large corporates seek alternative funding sources and small businesses operate out of cash-flow during this recession.”


Thinking small

There is room for optimism for UK smaller companies if one looks at year-to-date total returns to April 20. The FTSE 100 was down by 8.71 per cent but the small-cap indices were all up.


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